As you know, I love music…especially live music. From the music to the lights to the energy of the crowd, there is truly nothing like being at a concert. I live for concert experiences and those special moments. From Justin Timberlake flying over to my section at the 20/20 Experience Tour to seeing Stevie Wonder sing “Purple Rain” in a megaphone at Jazz Fest, here’s a list of five of my favorite concerts memories over the years…in no particular order.
1. Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience World Tour in 2014 in New Orleans
Midway throughout the show while Justin Timberlake was performing “Let the Groove Get In,” the entire front end of his stage started to elevate and hover over the crowd. Suddenly, he and the Tennessee Kids are traveling from the front of the arena over to the VIP section in the back where I was located. While flying over the crowd, he gave everyone in the arena a front row, 20/20 experience! He, along with his band, backup singers, and dancers, walked down a set of stairs that connected to the two VIP bars surrounding our GA pit section. He performed part of his set literally ten feet away from me. Before flying back over the main stage, JT took a couple selfies with the crowd and took a shot with a bartender. It was probably the coolest production element I’ve ever seen at a show.
2. Stevie Wonder at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 2016
In 2016, I went to Jazz Fest in New Orleans by myself to see Stevie Wonder live. As my luck would have it, I ended up winning side stage passes for his set from Acura! As I’m waiting side stage drenched from head to toe, Stevie Wonder walks up to the front of the stage with a megaphone. He, unfortunately, has to announce to thousands of fans that Jazz Fest has been canceled for the rest of the day but he promised to return the next year (which he did). Before he left the stage, he expressed his thoughts on the loss of Prince, who had passed away 9 days prior, and sang “Purple Rain” through the megaphone to honor him. Stevie Wonder covering a Prince song on a bullhorn in front of thousands of people during a thunderstorm… only in New Orleans.
3. Bruno Mars’ Moonshine Jungle Tour in 2014 in New Orleans
As Bruno Mars closed out his show in New Orleans with “Locked Out of Heaven,” I felt like I was in actual heaven. As Bruno is singing the lyrics, “Can I just stay here? Spend the rest of my days here,” I took a look around the arena. Confetti was falling. The crowd was singing and dancing along. Lights are flashing. At that moment, I felt like I was in a literally in my version of heaven. Being surrounded by people who loved the music just as much as you do…that’s what it’s all about. It’s crazy how music has the ability to bring us all together no matter who we are or where we are from. Experiencing this moment life emphasized the power of music even more to me and to this day, that is probably my favorite concert memory.
4. Janelle Monae at Voodoo Music and Arts Experience in 2018
This was my 5th time seeing Janelle Monae live. I think that vouches for how amazing she is on stage considering I skipped other sets to see her live yet again. Janelle is killing it on stage during her last song which happens to be her first single, “Tightrope” when all of a sudden there is complete silence. At 6:30 on the dot, Voodoo turned Janelle’s mic and band’s sound off but she did not miss a beat. She danced and sang for the rest of the song in complete silence (besides the encouraging screams from the hundreds and thousands of people in the crowd). She not only brought her all but continued performing while looking completely unbothered. Truly an electric lady in every way.
5. Justin Bieber’s My World Tour in 2010 in Atlanta, GA
This was the concert that truly started it all for me. 13-year old me convinced my mom to take an eight-hour road trip to Atlanta, GA to see the last North American tour date of Justin Bieber’s My World Tour since we missed the show in Lafayette early that summer. Though I had seen Lionel Richie’s set at Jazz Fest in 2006, this was my first proper concert with an assigned seat, full out production, outfit changes, an encore, and all the works! I cannot even begin to explain the genuine glee and excitement I had as the beginning of “Love Me” started playing as Justin Bieber took the stage. When I tell you there is no better feeling than seeing your favorite artist live. I was literally on cloud nine as he performed all of my favorite songs from My World and My World 2.0. That show paved the way for my love for live music and genuine interest and appreciation for live concerts and festivals.
Honorable Mention goes to Chance the Rapper at Austin City Limits in 2017
Genuine artist interaction always makes shows even better! Last October, I traveled 8 hours to Austin, TX, to stand in one spot for about 11 hours to see Chance the Rapper live from the front row at ACL Fest and it was worth every second. After seeing Chance two times prior, I knew his setlist and show pretty well so when he performed “All We Got,” I was ready to back him up for when he changed the lyrics from “Music is all we got” to “Jesus is all we got.” I (and the guy behind me who happened to be from Baton Rouge, LA) started screaming, “They don’t know! Let them know Chano! He’s all we got!,” right before Chance was about to start switching up the lyrics. Chance looks over at us and chuckles a bit before saying “Jesus is all we got.” Throughout the night I also made it onto the jumbo screen and had a couple other moments with Chance while he killed it on stage!
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